Dieffenbachia - Araceae - How to care for and grow your Dieffenbachia plant


HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR OUR PLANTS

DIEFFENBACHIA

There Dieffenbachia it is certainly one of the most present plants in our homes and appreciated for its beauty and elegance and for the simplicity of cultivation.

BOTANICAL CLASSIFICATION

Kingdom

:

Plantae

Clado

: Angiosperms

Clado

: Monocotyledons

Order

:

Alismatales

Family

:

Araceae

Kind

:

Dieffenbachia

Species

: see the paragraph on "Main species"

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS

Native to Central and South AmericaDieffenbachia belongs to the family of Araceae and it is certainly one of the plants most present in our homes and, depending on the variety, it can also have considerable dimensions.

they are evergreen plants characterized by a fleshy and erect stem.The leaves are very large, oval-lanceolate, of a more or less intense green color and varying according to the species and variety. They are provided with a long sheathing petiole that envelop the new leaves until they are completely grown.The flowers are collected in inconspicuous, greenish-white inflorescences formed by a spadix and a spathe (typical of the family of the Araceae we must find the calla, theCaladium, L'Anthurium, ilfilodendro etc.) even if it is quite rare that it blooms in the apartment.

MAIN SPECIES

There are about 30 species of Dieffenbachia among which we remember:

DIEFFENBACHIA PICTA (DIEFFENBACHIA MACULATA or D. SEGUINE)

There Diffenbachia picta it is native to Brazil and has pale green lanceolate oval leaves with green and spotted cream-colored edges and veins. It produces a spadix inflorescence and can even reach 2 m in height.

It is a very present species in our homes.

There are many cultivars among which we remember: Dieffenbachia Picta 'Exotica' is practically devoid of stems with irregularly variegated white leaves between the veins and on the central rib.

Dieffenbachiax bausei derives from Dieffenbachia maculata x Dieffenbachia weiriiIts characteristic is that it has splashes of yellow with leaves up to 30 cm long and about 15 cm wide. The presence of the streaks increases the decorative effect.

DIFFENBACHIA AMOENA

There Dieffenbachia amoena(according to several scholars it is derived from D. picta)it is native to Columbia and Costa Rica has a very impressive appearance and gives the idea of ​​robustness and solidity. It is the most widespread and well-known Diffenbachia. It can reach considerable heights and is provided with a sturdy green stem from which the large leaves start, long small with a leaf plate even 60 cm of green color streaked with yellow and cream. and cream.

DIEFFENBACHIA OERSTEDII

There Dieffenbachia oerstediiit is originally from Costa Rica and Guatemala, unlike the others Dieffenbachiait has much larger and green leaves characterized by white veins in particular along the ribs.

CULTURAL TECHNIQUE

When it comes to Dieffenbachia It is necessary to keep in mind that it is a poisonous plant in all its parts due to the presence of very long and pointed calcium dioxalate crystal cells that are dispersed in a mucilaginous substance. Therefore it is always advisable to work with gloves when working on the plant.

There Dieffenbachia loves the heat and therefore temperatures between 20-30 ° C are optimal. In winter the ideal minimum temperature is between 15-18 ° C.

Beware of cold shocks and drafts of cold and drafts.

It needs good light but not direct sun which would risk burning it. The greater the light, the greater the mottling of the leaves.

The leaves must be cleaned at least every 15 days using a soft damp cloth. During the operation, support the leaves with one hand to avoid breaking. Never use foliar polish.

WATERING

The soil must always be moist, avoiding stagnation of water in the saucer that would cause the roots to rot.

It requires a high relative humidity (80-90%) so it is important to regularly spray the plant to maintain a good level of humidity around the fronds, possibly with rainwater.

TYPE OF SOIL - REPOT

There Dieffenbachia it is repotted when the earth and the pot are no longer able to contain the roots but in any case at most every two-three years, to renew the soil. It is a good idea to put pieces of earthenware on the bottom of the pot to favor drainage

During the years when it is not necessary to decant, take care, at the beginning of spring, to remove the first 3-5 cm of earth, without removing the plant from the pot, and replace them with fresh soil. This operation is even more necessary when you notice a white crust / patina on the surface of the soil which means that there is an excess of limestone in the irrigation water.

The best time is early spring, using compost made of peat and beech leaves with a slightly acidic pH around 5.5-6.5.

It is necessary to compress the soil well at the time of repotting and immediately afterwards wet it abundantly and then let all the excess water drain.

FERTILIZATION

Fertilizers should be given liquid with irrigation water from the beginning of spring to the end of summer (April - September) every two weeks. During the winter, once a month is sufficient.

For the Diffenbachia the best thing is to use a fertilizer that has a ratio between nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) of 10: 1: 6, that is to say on 10 parts of nitrogen, one of phosphorus and 6 of potassium. Also make sure that in addition to having the so-called macroelements such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K) they also contain the so-called microelements, i.e. those compounds that the plant needs in minimal quantities (but still needs them) such as magnesium (Mg), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), boron (B), polybdenum (Mo), all important for a correct and balanced growth of the plant.

Slightly reduce the doses compared to what is reported in the fertilizer package as they are always excessive.

FLOWERING

There Dieffenbachia it blooms in the summer period, producing inconspicuous, greenish-white flowers, gathered in inflorescences even if it is rare that it blooms in the apartment.

PRUNING

Usually the Dieffenbachia it cannot be pruned. The leaves that gradually dry up must simply be eliminated to prevent them from becoming a vehicle for parasitic diseases.

Make sure that the tool you use for cutting is clean and disinfected (preferably over a flame) to avoid infecting the tissues. To avoid infecting the tissues.

MULTIPLICATION

MULTIPLICATION FOR TALEA

At the beginning of spring portions of the stem 5-10 cm long are cut (the part where the leaf sticks to the stem). Beware of the poisonous plant sap that does not reach the eyes or open wounds.

It is recommended to cut with a razor blade or a sharp knife to avoid fraying of the fabrics, taking care that the tool used for cutting is clean and disinfected.

After removing the lower leaves, the cut part is immersed in a rhizogenic powder to facilitate rooting.

Subsequently, the cuttings are arranged in a compote formed by two parts of fertile soil and one of coarse sand, one for each jar. You make holes with a pencil and arrange them as shown in the photo. Then take care to gently compact the soil.

The box or pot is covered with a transparent plastic sheet (or a bag with a hood) and is placed in a place where there is light but no direct sun and at a temperature around 25 ° C, taking care to keep the soil always slightly moist. (always water without wetting the rooting seedlings with water at room temperature). Every day the plastic is removed to control the humidity of the soil and to eliminate condensation from the plastic.

Once the first shoots begin to appear (after about 20-30 days), it means that the cutting has taken root. At that point the plastic is removed and the vase is placed in a brighter area, at the same temperature and expects the tales to strengthen.

Once they have grown large enough and have produced vigorous new shoots, they are transplanted into the final pot or soil.

Do not disturb the cuttings until they have placed the new shoots.

PARASITES AND DISEASES

Withered, discolored and hanging leaves

Wilted, discolored and hanging leaves are the classic symptoms of excess water or excessive cold.
Remedies: move the plant to a more suitable position. It should be borne in mind that temperatures must not drop below 15 ° C.

The plant grows with difficulty and the leaves are pale and not well colored

It means that you did not carry out the necessary fertilizations during the spring-summer period.
Remedies: intervene immediately using a liquid fertilizer to be administered with the irrigation water following the instructions given in the paragraph "Fertilization".

Appearance on the leaves of ruddy spots and leaves of ruddy spots

The leaves initially show flaccid and oily roundish spots that gradually become leather-colored and if the environment is arid they dry up quickly while if the environment is humid they turn into blisters full of liquid. In both cases, the infection continues to appear as brown streaks that spread to involve the midrib. This type of symptomatology denotes the presence of a bacterial rot due to Erwinia chrysanthemi var. dieffenbachiae.

Remedies: you can try to save the plant even if it is very difficult. First of all, it is necessary to immediately eliminate the leaves by destroying them possibly with fire; disinfect the scissors used for cutting with alcohol or bleach to avoid transmitting the disease to other plants; repotting immediately eliminating the old earth completely, replacing it with new soil.

The plant has the edges with brown streaks and evident necrotic spots

These symptoms may mean that the plant is too close to the window or that it has been receiving direct sun for some time.

Remedies: find a more suitable place.

Spots on the underside of the leaves

Spots on the underside of the leaves could mean that you are in the presence of cochineals and in particular the mealy cochineal. To be sure, it is recommended to use a magnifying glass and observe. Compare them with the photo on the side. They are features, you can't go wrong. Also if you try to remove them with a fingernail, they come off easily.

Remedies: remove them with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol or if the plant is large and potted, you can wash it with water and neutral soap, rubbing very gently with a sponge to remove the parasites, after which the plant is varisced very well to eliminate all the soap. For larger plants planted outdoors, you can use specific pesticides available from a good nurseryman. a good nurseryman.

Leaves that begin to turn yellow, appear mottled with yellow and brown

If the leaves begin to turn yellow and after these manifestations are crumpled, they take on an almost dusty appearance and fall.

Observing carefully you also notice some thin cobwebs especially on the lower page of the leaves. With this symptomatology we are most likely in the presence of a red spider mite attack, a very annoying and harmful mite.


Spider web of mite on Dieffenbachia

Remedies: increase the frequency of nebulizations to the foliage (the lack of humidity favors their proliferation) and possibly, only in the case of particularly serious infestations, use a specific insecticide. If the plant is not particularly large, you can also try cleaning the leaves to mechanically eliminate the parasite using a wet and soapy cotton ball. After that the plant was rinsed very well to get rid of all the soap.

CURIOSITY'

The name of the genus is attributed to various people with the name Dieffenbach; however, it would appear, as it appears from the monigraphy of Engler under the entry Araceae, in the plant sector IV. 23, 1915: «Nomen in honorem botanici Vindebonensis, custodis bene merit, friends Cli. Schott ". From this it is clear that Schott wanted to honor his collaborator by giving his name to the genre.

There Dieffenbachiaseguine (photo below) is also known as mute plantbecause if its lymph comes into contact with the vocal organs, it makes you mute for several days.


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